The traditional Vietnamese wedding is one of the most essential ceremonies in Vietnam culture. It is also regarded as the happiest day of one’s life. If you are invited to the Vietnam Wedding, try to have some knowledge about it in order to avoid the culture shock.
Vietnam Wedding Ceremony
Proposal Ceremony (Cham Ngo)
The proposal ceremony is the meeting of the groom and bride’s family so that the bride’s one asks permission for an official relationship of the children with the aim of getting married. This ceremony often occurs without any complicated rituals, and the gifts that the groom’s family takes to the bride’s are expected to be the betel and the areca.
Engagement Party (Dam hoi)
Engagement is an official announcement of the wedding. Traditionally, both bride and groom or their parents go to the fortuneteller to decide what date and time are the best following the time couples were given birth (lunar calendar). Vietnamese strongly believe that the groom’s family and relatives have to come to the bride’s one on time. Simultaneously, the groom needs to bring the gifts on the trays including betel and areca, husband-wife cake (banh phu the), wine, tea, fruit, and a roasted pig which usually go in pairs, representing the couple. Especially, all the gifts on the odd trays (odd numbers are considered the lucky numbers in Vietnam) are covered with the red cloth are carried by unmarried girls or boys. After the gift ritual, the couple will pray in front of the altar to ask approval from their ancestors. On this occasion, the groom and bride wear Ao Dai – a Vietnam traditional dress.
Vietnam Engagement Taboos
• When the groom comes to the bride’s house, the bride must stay in her room until she is permitted to go out. If not, she will be regarded as not well-educated.
• When the bride follows the groom to his house, she can’t turn her head back toward her house. The elder believes that if she does do, she is a stubborn girl and does not live in the groom’s house.
• The groom’s mother will not wait for her daughter-in-law at the front door to avoid “women argument” in the future.
• The pregnant bride cannot walk to her husband house through the front door in order not to prevent the development of his family.
Wedding Reception (Dam Cuoi)
Like the engagement, the day and time of the wedding reception are chosen carefully by the fortuneteller. On this day, the bride is the most beautiful and splendid in a white dress. The groom’s family again brings gifts, asking to receive the bride and confirming the last time. The groom and bride bow to their parents and their head to each other to show their gratitude as well as respect towards their soon-to-be husband or wife. Their parents will give the wedding couple advice on starting a new family. After that, the groom and the bride exchange their wedding rings and receive the gift from their parents and relatives such as golden bracelets, earrings, rings, necklace, etc. The ceremony is ended with round applause and best wishes from their friends & relatives.
After the wedding ceremony is over, there will be a party at the groom’s house or a restaurant. There is a band to play music during their meal and some guests can freely sing wedding songs on the stage to wish the coupe permanent happiness. Lots of Vietnamese couples celebrate their wedding ceremony in Temples or Churches nowadays; however, they still maintain ceremony in the bride’s home before heading to temples or churches.
What to Bring to the Vietnam Wedding
Money is always a welcome gift for the wedding in Vietnam as it supports the bride and the groom to offset the cost of the wedding. You should put the lucky money into the envelope and put it in a small decorated box on the table where the two girls are wearing Ao Dai next to the main gate. If you are close friends of the couple, you can present other gifts instead of money.
Dos & Don’ts at Vietnamese Weddings
• Don’t get drunk at the wedding as it is out of your control and easy to annoy others (wine at the wedding is quite strong)
• Never complain to the groom and bride about the wedding food
• Don’t go to a wedding if there is someone in your family just passing away. The Vietnamese consider this action as an unlucky thing to the couple.
• Do wear suitable clothes such as colorful and outstanding color ones and avoid wearing white ones.
• Do not monopolize the groom and bride. A little time for a cocktail and wishes is enough as they have to welcome lots of guests.